By Emily Sampl//Contributor | Tuesday, March 5, 2019
The second stop of the TYR Pro Swim Series kicks off tomorrow in Des Moines, Iowa, and there are plenty of big names to keep an eye on in what should be another fast meet. With many age groupers traveling to their respective sectional meets this month, the psych sheet features a number of post-collegiate and international swimmers looking for competition. Here’s a look at the names to watch across each stroke and distance.
Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Kathleen Baker will contest all three backstroke events in Des Moines, along with Rio teammate Olivia Smoliga. Team Elite’s Ali DeLoof will be a solid challenger in the shorter distances, while Kentucky’s Bridgette Alexander could threaten for podium spots as well. The men’s backstroke events feature several international swimmers at the top of the psych sheet, including Brazil’s Guilherme Basseto, Japan’s Ryosuke Irie and Russia’s Grigory Tarasevich. Jacob Pebley, a 2016 Olympian, will likely challenge for the top spot in the 200 back.
Micah Sumrall and Bethany Galat enter the meet as the two swimmers to beat in all three breaststroke distances, with Sumrall seeded first in the 50m breast and 100m breast and Galat entered first in the 200m breast. Canadian Kierra Smith, a former University of Minnesota swimmer, should be in the mix as well, along with Annie Lazor. Kevin Cordes owns the top three seed times in the men’s breaststroke events and will have a handful of challengers to deal with in Great Britain’s James Wilby and fellow Americans Cody Miller, Andrew Wilson, Nic Fink and Michael Andrew.
The women’s sprint fly events should feature a great race between American Kelsi Dahlia and Canadian sprint queen Penny Oleksiak. Dahlia enters the meet with the top seeded time in both the 50m and 100m fly, with Oleksiak in second. Caeleb Dressel has a shot at a four-peat in Des Moines with top times not just in the sprint free events, but also in fly. His 50m fly and 100m fly top the psych sheets, and he’s well ahead of the competition and fellow Americans Michael Andrew and Tom Shields.
Mission Viejo’s Margo Geer will look to claim the sprint free double with second place seeds in both the 50m and 100m free; she’ll have to contend with Penny Oleksiak in the 100, and Egypt’s Farida Osman in the 50. Americans Lia Neal, Kelsi Dahlia and Olivia Smoliga will also be in the mix with top eight seeds in those events.
On the men’s side, Caeleb Dressel owns the fastest times coming into the meet in both the 50m free and 100m free, and it could be a slam dunk as his personal bests are well ahead of the second seeded swimmers.
China’s teenage duo of Bingjie Li and Jianjiahe Wang will look to score big points in the women’s distance free events, as the pair is seeded 1-2 in the 1500m free and 2-3 in the 400m free. American Leah Smith could spoil that plan as she comes into the meet as the top seed in the 400m free and 800m free. On the men’s side, Zane Grothe should be a threat in multiple distances, from the 200m free to the mile. Jordan Wilimovsky should be right on his heels in the longer events, while Blake Pieroni comes in as the top seed in the 200m free.
The women’s IM events feature a number of international swimmers atop the psych sheet, with Canadians Mary-Sophie Harvey, Erika Seltenreich-Hodgson and Emily Overholt and Great Britain’s Abbie Wood all hungry for a win in the 400m IM, and Kathleen Baker and Melanie Margalis looking for a top finish in the 200m IM. Dynamo Swim Club teammates and 2016 Rio Olympians Jay Litherland and Gunnar Bentz, along with Olympic silver medalist Chase Kalisz, highlight the men’s IM field along with former University of Florida standout Mark Szaranek.Be sure to catch all the action from the meet atsftest.usaswimming.org, including live webcasts each day.